E-Handbook: Prep for SD-WAN challenges, and you'll reap its rewards Article 1 of 4

Tackle SD-WAN challenges through research and preparation

Software-defined WAN has myriad benefits that make it a compelling option for organizations looking to improve application performance, WAN management and control. Despite its advantages, though, SD-WAN technology comes with its share of challenges that can pop up around implementation, complexity, troubleshooting, software and support.

One SD-WAN challenge is ensuring quality of service (QoS) end to end across the network. Network teams can configure their SD-WAN with multiple connectivity links -- like MPLS or broadband internet -- but this capability adds network complexity. Teams need to know how their SD-WAN will respond to issues like latency, jitter, brownouts and failover, and choose a deployment method that meets network, application and support requirements.

Each organization has a unique network setup, which means SD-WAN implementation will vary. This variance creates its own challenges, because no single deployment option provides the right answer. Network teams researching SD-WAN should pinpoint what kind of access they need to cloud and SaaS environments, evaluate the size and layout of their organization, and consider on-premises or cloud-hosted deployment. Teams that prepare for these factors can better assuage SD-WAN challenges and hiccups that arise during deployment.

Once a network team has implemented SD-WAN, then comes the daily maintenance and management. As teams adjust to SD-WAN, they'll likely face software bugs, configuration troubles and troubleshooting. While planning and training for those issues won't eliminate the problems, it will help teams avoid getting blindsided. This handbook offers useful advice on deployment methods, QoS concerns and troubleshooting tips.